According to a report from Brainerd Dispatch, the Minnesota townships of Bungo, Deerfield, Bull Moose, and McKinley may experience up to an eight-percent increase in their emergency medical services (EMS) and fire coverage contracts from Backus (MN) Fire Department (BFD) crews.
In an address to the Backus City Council, BFD Chief Jason Smith said that 2020 was a record year for EMS calls, with an unexpectedly high amount of those calls being to the aforementioned townships. Although those townships are subject to some of the lowest contract prices currently, the number of all-terrain vehicle and car accidents, search and rescues, and EMS calls have increased significantly over the past several years.
Smith said the BFD responded to 100 more medicals than 2019, partly because of the number of cabins that have suddenly become year-round.
Bungo Township represented the highest increase in services needed. Spider Lake, in Bungo Township, features trails conducive to an increase in ATV use, becoming a “hot spot” of crashes and injuries that require calls to BFD.
The BFD had 53 fire calls in 2020, six of those in Bungo Township, which, Smith noted, was a considerable distance away.
The council agreed to review the possible increase ahead of its February meeting, when the council should have numbers comparing the current contract fees with the proposed fees.